TV3 is launching be3, a third channel which will replace UTV Ireland next month.
The TV3 Group launched its new look three-channel lineup at a media event in Dublin yesterday.
It includes 3News Ireland, a centralised news hub servicing all three channels.
The new channel be3 will be more “female-focused” and will screen popular programmes such as Midsomer Murders, Loose Women, and Benidorm.
It will have two half-hour news bulletins every weekday evening and offer viewers a second chance to see their favourite soaps.
TV3 Group’s daily three-hour children’s programme block will also move to be3 when the channel is launched on January 9.
The group said that TV3 would be the flagship channel, focusing on premium Irish content and the best of acquired programming.
3e will be the entertainment channel for younger viewers — those aged 15 to 44.
TV3’s new group director of programming, Bill Malone, said the development represented a “historic shift” in Irish broadcasting — TV3 was now a three-channel business.
“Our commitment to Irish programming is clearly evident — we are now an Irish broadcaster of scale,” he said.
TV3 managing director Pat Kiely said there were 40 vacancies at the network and they were going to try and make sure that as many as possible were offered to and filled by UTV Ireland staff.
However, 21 jobs will be lost as a result of the takeover last Thursday of UTV Ireland by TV3’s owner Virgin Media.
Mr Kiely said a “consultation process” with UTV Ireland staff had started on Monday and he had spent a “significant amount of time” engaging with the staff. “They [the staff] are engaging with the process, and I think it would be unfair to comment beyond that.”
UTV Ireland set up in the Dublin Docklands in 2014. As part of the deal, it will move to TV3’s headquarters in Ballymount.
“We are bringing the television business together as one business under one roof,” said Mr Kiely.
He said there was an investment of over €2.5m in the studios in the last year. “TV3 grew up in one studio. We launched a second studio some weeks ago and are launching our third early next year.”
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